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The Havanese is a small, charming breed known for its long, silky coat and expressive eyes. Originating from Cuba, they are the national dog of the country and are part of the Bichon family of breeds. Havanese dogs are known for their friendly and outgoing nature, making them excellent companions. They are adaptable to various living environments, thriving in both houses and apartments.

Havanese dogs are intelligent and trainable, often excelling in obedience and agility activities. They are social animals that enjoy the company of their human family and are generally good with children and other pets. Their long coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting. Despite their small size, they have a sturdy build and are surprisingly agile and energetic, enjoying playtime and short walks.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:

14 to 16 years



Maintenance Level:


Shed Level


Best For

The Havanese breed is ideal for families and individuals seeking a sociable, affectionate companion. Their adaptable and friendly nature makes them well-suited for various living environments, including apartments. They are great with children and other pets, thriving in interactive and loving homes. Havanese dogs are also a good choice for first-time dog owners due to their trainable and eager-to-please demeanor.

Havanese Traits

Breed Characteristics

The Havanese is a small, sturdy dog with a friendly and outgoing temperament, known for its long, silky coat that comes in various colors. They are intelligent, easily trainable, and have a playful and affectionate nature, making them excellent family pets. Despite their small size, they are energetic and enjoy regular play and exercise, thriving on human companionship.


Exercise Needs
Health Issues
Barking Tendencies
Grooming Needs
Shedding Level
Training Needs
Good With Kids
Good With Cats
Good As A Service Dog
Good For Apartments & Small Homes
Biting Tendencies
Energy Level
Good With Other Dogs
Sensitive to Cold Weather
Sensitive to Warm Weather
Good For First Time Pet Parents

Breed Appearance

The Havanese breed boasts a distinctive, flowing silky coat, often in a variety of colors and patterns. They have a small but sturdy build, with a slightly longer than tall body, expressive almond-shaped eyes, and a plumed tail carried over their back. Their adorable, expressive face, coupled with their lush coat, gives them an endearing appearance.

1. Ears
The Havanese has drop ears that are set high on the head, adding to their friendly expression.
2. Eyes
Almond-shaped, dark brown, and expressive, giving them a warm and inviting appearance.
3. Nose
Black or brown, depending on the coat color.
4. Height
They stand about 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder.
5. Coat Length
Their coat is long, reaching the ground in mature dogs, and requires regular grooming to maintain its silky texture.
6. Coat Color
A wide range, including black, silver, white, cream, tan, and gold.
7. Tail
Carried over the back in a plume.
8. Weight
The Havanese typically weighs between 7 to 13 pounds, fitting their small but sturdy stature.

Havanese Temperament

The Havanese is an affectionate, sociable breed, known for its cheerful and friendly nature. They are intelligent and highly trainable, enjoying interactive play and companionship. Their adaptability and gentle demeanor make them excellent family pets, suitable for both experienced and first-time dog owners.

  • Affectionate and Sociable: Havanese dogs are known for their loving and friendly demeanor, often forming strong bonds with their family members.
  • Intelligent and Trainable: They exhibit high intelligence, making them quick learners who are responsive to training, often excelling in obedience and agility.
  • Playful and Energetic: Despite their small size, they have a playful and energetic nature, enjoying interactive games and activities.
  • Good with Families: Their gentle temperament makes them great companions for families, including those with children and other pets.
  • Adaptable to Various Environments: Havanese adapt well to different living situations, including apartments and houses.

The Havanese breed’s temperament combines affection, intelligence, and adaptability, making them ideal for a wide range of owners, from singles to large families. Their need for social interaction and mental stimulation means they thrive best in environments where they can be part of daily activities and receive regular companionship.

How to Care for a Havanese

Caring for a Havanese involves regular grooming to maintain their long, silky coat, providing them with daily exercise and play to cater to their energy levels, and engaging in consistent training and socialization. They thrive on companionship, so spending quality time with them is essential. Regular veterinary check-ups are also important to ensure their overall health and well-being.

Grooming a Havanese requires regular brushing several times a week to prevent tangles and mats in their long, silky coat. They also need occasional baths to keep their coat clean and healthy. In addition to coat care, regular attention should be given to their nails, ears, and teeth to maintain overall hygiene and health.

Regular Coat Maintenance

  • Brushing: Frequent brushing, at least a few times a week, to prevent mats and tangles in their long, silky coat.
  • Bathing: Regular baths, typically once a month, with a gentle dog-specific shampoo to keep their coat clean and healthy.

Nail, Ear, and Dental Care

  • Nail Trimming: Routine nail trimming to prevent discomfort and mobility issues.
  • Ear Cleaning: Regular ear checks and cleaning to prevent infections, considering their drop ears.
  • Dental Hygiene: Frequent teeth brushing to maintain oral health and prevent dental diseases.

Special Coat Considerations

  • Haircuts: Some owners opt for professional grooming to keep the coat at a manageable length.
  • Avoiding Matting: Special attention should be given to areas prone to matting, such as behind the ears and under the legs.

Proper grooming of a Havanese is crucial for their comfort and well-being and involves a routine but thorough care regimen focusing on their distinctive coat, cleanliness, and general hygiene.

Training a Havanese involves positive reinforcement techniques to leverage their intelligence and eagerness to please. Short, consistent training sessions work best, as they quickly grasp new commands and enjoy the learning process. Early socialization is important to develop their confidence and sociability, making them well-rounded companions.

  • Understanding Their Learning Style: Recognize their intelligence and eagerness to please. Havanese dogs are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement.
  • Consistency and Positive Reinforcement: Use treats, praise, and affection as rewards. Consistency in commands and routines helps in effective training.
  • Short and Engaging Training Sessions: Keep training sessions brief and engaging to maintain their interest. Their playful nature can be incorporated into training exercises.
  • Early Socialization: Expose them to different people, pets, and environments early to ensure well-rounded social skills.
  • Addressing Their Specific Needs: Focus on training that reinforces their naturally sociable and friendly nature. Training activities that challenge their minds, like agility or puzzle toys, are also beneficial.

Training a Havanese requires understanding their responsive nature, using positive methods, and ensuring early socialization. Their intelligence and willingness to please make the training process enjoyable and rewarding.

A balanced diet tailored to the Havanese’s size, age, and activity level is crucial for their health. Feed them high-quality dog food in appropriate portions to maintain optimal weight, and ensure constant access to fresh water. It’s important to avoid overfeeding, especially with treats, and regular veterinary consultations can provide guidance on any specific dietary needs or adjustments.

Balanced Diet Specific to Breed Needs

  • Nutritional Requirements: Ensure the diet meets the specific needs of the Havanese breed, considering their size and energy levels.
  • Quality Food: Opt for high-quality dog food that suits their age, size, and activity level.

Portion Control and Feeding Schedule

  • Monitor Food Intake: Carefully control portion sizes to prevent obesity.
  • Feeding Frequency: Typically, two smaller meals a day are recommended.

Treats and Supplements

  • Moderate Treat Usage: Use treats sparingly and ensure they are healthy.
  • Supplements: Consult with a veterinarian about any needed supplements, especially for coat health.

Regular Veterinary Check-ups

  • Diet Adjustments: Regular veterinary visits are crucial to monitor their diet and adjust as needed for their health status.

Proper nutrition is key to maintaining the health of a Havanese, focusing on a balanced diet, controlled portions, and regular veterinary guidance.

Regular exercise tailored to the Havanese’s moderate energy levels is important, including daily walks and playtime. They enjoy interactive activities and mental stimulation through games and agility exercises. While they are adaptable and can live in apartments, ensuring they get enough physical activity to stay healthy and happy is crucial. Their playful nature makes exercise enjoyable and strengthens the bond with their owners.

Regular Physical Activity

  • Daily Walks: Short to moderate walks daily suit their energy levels.
  • Playtime: Engage in play sessions, as they enjoy interactive games.

Mental Stimulation

  • Training Exercises: Incorporate training into exercise for mental stimulation.
  • Puzzle Toys: Use puzzle toys to keep their mind active.

Adapting to Their Needs

  • Indoor Activities: Provide opportunities for indoor play, especially in small living spaces.
  • Balance: Balance their physical activity with times of rest and relaxation.

Regular physical and mental exercise is crucial for a Havanese’s well-being, aligning with their playful and sociable nature.

The ideal environment for a Havanese is one that provides ample opportunities for both physical and social interaction. These dogs thrive in environments where they can be close to their human companions, as they are highly sociable and form strong bonds with their owners. A home where they can freely move around and have access to a safe, enclosed outdoor space for play is beneficial. However, they are adaptable to various living situations, including apartments, as long as their exercise and social needs are met.

In addition to physical space, a stimulating environment is crucial for a Havanese. This includes having access to various toys and engaging in interactive activities that cater to their intelligent and curious nature. They enjoy being involved in family activities and do well in an environment where they can be a central part of the household. A consistent routine with regular playtime, exercise, and relaxation is ideal for their well-being.

Overall, Havanese dogs need an environment that balances their need for physical activity with their desire for companionship. A loving, attentive owner who can provide regular grooming, exercise, and affection will create the ideal setting for a Havanese. Ensuring they are not left alone for extended periods is important, as they thrive on interaction and can become anxious when isolated. Regular socialization with other dogs and people will also contribute to their happiness and social development.

Havanese Health

Havanese are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they have specific health concerns to be aware of.

Common Health Issues

  • Hip Dysplasia: A condition affecting the hip joints, though less common than in larger breeds.
  • Luxating Patellas: Kneecap dislocation can occur in small breeds like the Havanese.
  • Eye Conditions: Such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy.
  • Heart Issues: Including heart murmurs and valve diseases.

Preventive Health Care

  • Regular veterinary check-ups for early detection and management of potential health issues.
  • Keeping up with vaccinations and routine parasite control.

Diet and Exercise for Health

  • A balanced diet and regular exercise are important for preventing obesity and maintaining joint health.

Monitoring and Early Detection

  • Be vigilant for signs of discomfort or changes in behavior, which might indicate health issues.

Caring for the health of a Havanese involves regular vet visits, a proper diet and exercise regimen, and being attentive to any signs of common breed-specific health issues.

Havanese Breed Comparison and Consideration

The Havanese is ideal for those seeking a sociable and affectionate dog that adapts well to various living situations, including smaller spaces. They are less demanding in terms of exercise compared to more active breeds but require regular grooming, distinguishing them from low-maintenance breeds. Their friendly and companionable nature makes them a great fit for families and first-time dog owners.

Comparison with Similar Breeds

Havanese vs. Maltese:

  • Both are small and affectionate, but the Havanese has a sturdier build and a longer, silkier coat compared to the Maltese.
  • The Havanese is often more outgoing and adaptable to various environments than the more delicate Maltese.

Havanese vs. Bichon Frise:

  • Bichon Frises have a fluffier, curlier coat and are similar in size and temperament to the Havanese.
  • Havanese may be more laid-back compared to the often more energetic Bichon Frise.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu:

  • Shih Tzus have a shorter snout and a denser coat. Both breeds share a friendly disposition and adaptability to apartment living.
  • Havanese are typically more active and require more grooming compared to Shih Tzus.

Considerations Before Choosing a Havanese

  • Grooming Needs: High maintenance due to their long coat.
  • Temperament: Ideal for families, being affectionate and sociable.
  • Exercise Requirements: Moderate; adapts well to the owner’s lifestyle.
  • Health Considerations: Generally healthy but requires regular veterinary check-ups.

When considering a Havanese, it’s important to assess their grooming needs, sociable nature, and exercise requirements to ensure they fit well into your lifestyle and preferences.


They are known for being sociable, affectionate, and friendly.

They require moderate exercise, including daily walks and playtime.

Yes, they are typically great with children, thanks to their gentle and playful nature.

Havanese are considered low shedders, making them a good choice for those with allergies.

They can be prone to hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, and certain eye conditions.

They usually weigh between 7 to 13 pounds and stand about 8.5 to 11.5 inches tall at the shoulder.

Yes, they are intelligent and eager to please, making training relatively easy.

Absolutely, their adaptable nature and moderate exercise needs make them well-suited for apartment living.

Top Takeaways

The Havanese breed is an ideal companion for those seeking a small, affectionate, and sociable dog. Known for their long, silky coat and friendly demeanor, they are adaptable to various living environments, including apartments. Their moderate exercise needs and sociable nature make them suitable for both active families and individuals living in urban settings. Regular grooming is essential to maintain their coat, but their overall care needs are manageable.

Havanese dogs form strong bonds with their owners and are great with children, making them excellent family pets. Their intelligence and trainability, combined with their playful and affectionate personality, ensure they fit well into various lifestyles. However, potential owners should consider the commitment to regular grooming and the need for companionship, as Havanese thrive on social interaction.

Top Havanese Names

For a Havanese, consider names that reflect their charming and affectionate nature. Here are some suggestions.

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Male Names











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